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New hammer-blow to Scottish live music

25 April 2020

THE SUMMER live music season in Scotland has been “wiped out”, say promoters, following the announcement by Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon that social distancing measures will remain in place “possibly for the rest of this year”.

The announcement was accompanied by a Scottish government paper stating, “We are likely to require that gathering in groups, for example in pubs or at public events, is banned or restricted for some time to come”.

The cancellation of the DF Concerts-promoted TRNSMT (50,000) festival  in Glasgow followed Sturgeon’s announcement.

Live Nation Entertainment-owned DF had a line-up including Lewis Capaldi, Liam Gallagher, Rita Ora and Amy Macdonald for the July event. Tickets ranged from £62.50 for a day pass to £275 for VIP weekend access. Day tickets were sold out.

Mark Mackie, director of Edinburgh-based Regular Music, says the new events ban means many operators will have to “hibernate” this year.

“It is having a devastating impact on the live music industry here but we will have to get on with getting through it and hopefully we will get back up and running in the not too distant future,” he says. “The announcement wasn’t a major surprise, we were already rescheduling our shows for next summer.”

PCL Presents director Paul Cardow says, despite the government document that accompanied Sturgeon’s statement being lengthy, there was very little information in terms of definite re-opening timelines for events of different sizes.

“I will be surprised if we have any shows before September, but I am hoping some shows can happen from then on, as the industry and public need it,” says Cardow.

Aside from the impact on the industry, Cardow is concerned about the effect on society and he expects to see young people take matters into their own hands if some of the restrictions are not lifted soon.

“Teenagers will begin organising their own entertainment if there is nothing on offer to them,” he says. “Illegal warehouse events were a problem before and we will begin seeing them start-up again. We need to move forward with some kind of organised entertainment in September, because I would be very surprised if people accept staying in their houses for the whole year.”

DF has shows with acts such as Stormzy at Glasgow’s The SSE Hydro (cap. 14,300) in September and Pussycat Dolls at therein October; while Regular has events such as Paul Weller at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall (2,400) in November and four nights with Ocean Colour Scene at Glasgow’s Barrowland (2,000) in December.

PCL events include The Pigeon Detectives at Glasgow’s Queen Margaret Union (900) and The Fratellis at Barrowland, both in October.

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